Dear Friends, This is first of all to say that during this strange time of pandemic we are continuing to pray at the shrine of St Alban for all our associated churches and communities in the Fraternity of St Alban worldwide, those who are dedicated to St Alban’s patronage and others who have a special link with us.
Last year was a wonderful year for this place, with the opening of our new welcome building and exhibition centre. We have almost completed rebuilding our second shrine, the shrine of St Amphibalus (the priest rescued by Alban, later martyred himself) which was destroyed in the Reformation, and we have made many other major improvements to the interior and exterior of the building.
I am attaching with this e mail a copy of our Annual Review, which has further information about the Project and the main events of last year. We hope it will inspire you to visit us when it becomes possible again.
One of the most exciting projects was the illumination of the four largest medieval wall paintings in the nave. These were also destroyed at the time of the Reformation, but a new lighting technique now enables us to recreate them in their original glory. They are shown in the pictures above: 1. St Alban giving St Amphibalus his cloak, while St Amphibalus gives St Alban his distinctively-shaped Alban Cross. 2. St Christopher and the Christ Child; 3. St Thomas of Canterbury; 4. St Zita of Lucca (known as St Sitha in England), who was popular in the 13th century as the patron saint of housewives and housemaids. We are delighted to have them visibly back among us.
Like many of you in so many parts of the world, we look forward to day when we can welcome worshippers and pilgrims once again without restriction. Our Cathedral is sadly still closed to the public, but our masses and offices of prayer continue, including daily prayers at the shrine of St Alban for you and all our associated churches and other institutions, all of which are included by name once a month. Please pray for us also.
May God bless you and keep you safe; may Alban and all the saints pray for you.
The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John
Dean of St Albans Cathedral
St Albans Cathedral
St Albans, Hertfordshire, England AL1 1BY